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Speed of sound Experiment



1. Pick a tuning fork and write down the frequency

_______________________ Hz
2. Strike the fork on your shoe.


Hold it in front of a big blue tube. Change the

length of the tube until the air inside the tube vibrates loudly.
(You may need to make the length smaller and larger until you match the
frequency just right.)
Write down the length of the tube that causes RESONANCE

length = _________

cm = __________ m
3. The length that you measured is of the wavelength. To get the wavelength,
multiply the length by 4
wavelength = 4 X length =


4 X ___________

______________ m
4. Now to get the speed of sound, you can use

v= f

v =

vsound = _______________ m/s

5. Compare the answer you measured with the value of the speed of sound in air
that we use, 340 m/s. Is your value close?

____________ Why isnt it exactly the

same ? _____________________
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for a different tuning fork
f = _____________________________
cm = ___________ m


length = __________

wavelength = 4 X length =

4 X _________



v= f

v =

__________ X __________

so vsound = ___________

v = 340 m/s Is your value close?

____________ Why isnt it exactly the

same ? _______________
Conclusion: When we held the tuning fork in front of the tube, the air vibrated
when the length
was just right. This is an example of resonance because
___________________________________________________. When we measured the
wavelength, we could use it to find the speed of sound by using the formula
___________________________. The answers we got were not exactly the same as
what we expected to get, since the speed of sound in air is ________________. Our
first answer was _______________________ which was too __________________. Our
second answer was _______________ which was too _____________________.


werent they perfect?

Practice with speed equals wavelength times frequency or
1. Bruce sings a note with a frequency of 170 HZ.
a. What kind of wave did he make? ________________________


b. The wavelength of the wave he made is 2.0 meters long. Find the speed
of the wave:
2. WZLX broadcasts RADIO waves at a frequency of 100,000,000 Hz. The
wavelength of those radio waves is 3.0 meters. Find the speed of the radio wave.

3. Is a radio wave a sound wave or an electromagnetic wave?

hint: can you hear it without a radio?

4. Sound waves travel through air at about 340 m/s. Estimate the time it would
take them to travel 1600 meters? (which is about a mile) (hint: dont use a wave
formula !!) _____________
So, if you see lightning strike and then hear the thunder 5 seconds later, about
how far away did the lightning hit?

5. You make a loud noise. You hear an echo 2.0 seconds later, after it bounced
off a wall. How far away is the wall?

6. You can find the wavelength of a radio station by using the wave formula.
WBZ broadcasts radio waves at a frequency of 1,000,000 Hertz. They are radio
waves and travel at the speed of light, which is 300,000,000 m/s. Find the
wavelength of WBZs radio waves.

7. A tuning fork vibrates 680 times per second. Find: frequency ____________
period ____________
speed of the sound wave in air __________________ (no math needed since it is a
sound wave in air)
Now, find the wavelength of the sound wave in air